Understanding the Tasmanian energy market

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Whether you’re new to the state, or just want to better understand how power and gas in Tasmania works, Canstar Blue walks you through the basics of what you’ll need to know. We might even be able to help you find a better deal.

Tasmania has historically been home to one of the most heavily regulated energy markets in Australia. While this meant retail competition was non-existent until recently, it at least made electricity and gas prices fairly stable and easy to understand. In this article, Canstar Blue introduces you to Tasmania’s energy retailers and distributors, and explains the fundamentals of the Tasmanian energy market.

The difference between retailers, distributors and generators

Before we get underway, it’s worth making a basic point on terminology. The electricity and gas markets can respectively be broken into three tiers – retailers, distributors and generators.

  • Generators: Produce the electricity and/or natural gas. Tasmania’s main electricity generator is Hydro Tasmania. Natural gas in Tasmania is imported from a variety of generators on the mainland.
  • Distributors: These companies are responsible for delivering the electricity and gas from the generators to your property. Tasmania’s electricity distributor is TasNetworks. There are two gas distributors – Auroura Gas and Tas Gas.
  • Retailers: Retailers are responsible for billing and customer services. The main retailers are Aurora Energy – an electricity and natural gas retailer – and Tas Gas, a natural gas retailer. But as we’ll come to, a competitor has now joined the electricity market for the first time.

Can I choose my electricity retailer? You can now!

Aurora Energy was the only electricity retailer servicing homes in Tasmania until February 2019 when 1st Energy was permitted to enter the local market. While the Tasmanian government introduced Full Retail Competition in 2014, allowing for other retailers to enter the market and compete for customers, no one came to the table until Melbourne-based 1st Energy made the move. This was likely because power prices remain regulated. However, the good news for electricity customers in Tasmania is that, with a regulated price cap, the only way is down for any electricity retailer new to the market and looking to get households to switch.

Compare Electricity Plans

Aurora Energy vs 1st Energy – Price Check

Here are the cheapest published electricity deals from the retailers currently on our database for Tasmania. These costs are based on a typical three-person household at a selected postcode in Tasmania, but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of price. Use our comparison tool for a specific comparison in your area. This table includes a featured product from referral partners. Our database may not cover all deals available in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Brand Features Benefit Period Annual Cost**
1st Energy Logo

Basic Plan Information

1st Saver

  • 5% pay on time discount off usage charges
1 YearBenefit Period $2,051.44Annual Cost** Go To Site
1st Energy Logo

Basic Plan Information

1st Solar Bonus

  • No conditional discount
  • 13.54c/kWh feed-in tariff
  • Available to solar customers only
1 YearBenefit Period $2,141.18Annual Cost** Go To Site
Aurora Energy Logo

Basic Plan Information

Residential Light & Power

  • No conditional discount
OngoingBenefit Period $2,141.90Annual Cost** More Details
View all electricity plans listed on Canstar Blue

Business electricity retailers in Tasmania

There are three electricity retailers for businesses to choose from in Tasmania. They are:

  • ERM Business Energy (All businesses)
  • Flow Business Energy (For businesses consuming 160 mWh/year+)
  • AGL (For businesses consuming 4 GWh/year+).

Aurora Energy also contracts business electricity customers. Businesses using less than 150 mWh are charged the same as residential Aurora customers, while a different pricing structure applies to businesses using more than 150 mWh.

Most experts attribute the lack of residential market competition to price regulation. As it stands, profit margins are too small for most new retailers to come to Tasmania. With wholesale power prices rising and the possibility of a price hike, there’s speculation that the government may consider deregulating electricity prices in the future to encourage more competition.

Tasmania Residential Electricity Prices

If you’ve been following the news, chances are you’ve heard of the ‘national energy crises’. Power prices have soared across most of Australia, putting strain on the cost of living. While Tasmanians have seen a slight increase in the cost of electricity, the state government’s electricity price cap has kept rates reasonable in recent years (at least compared to other parts of the country). With that said, wholesale electricity prices in Tasmania may still rise due to its link with the Victorian wholesale price. That means the government price regulation can’t be protected from price hikes forever.

Aurora Electricity Rates

The table below shows Aurora Energy’s electricity usage and supply charges for Tasmania, with five different tariffs available. A tariff refers to the electricity pricing structure. Different rates apply to different the tariffs. Below are Aurora’s standard residential electricity prices.

Tariff Type Supply Charge Usage Charge
Tariff 31 Light and power 94.636 ¢/day 26.431 ¢/kWh
Tariff 41 Heating and hot water 17.646 ¢/day 17.164 ¢/kWh
Tariff 61 Controlled load w/ afternoon boost 21.808 ¢/day 13.819 ¢/kWh
Tariff 62 Controlled load (night only) 20.846 ¢/day 13.016 ¢/kWh
Tariff 93 Time of use 105.131 ¢/day Peak: 31.948 ¢/kWh

Off-peak: 14.876 ¢/kWh

Prices as of February 22 2019. Visit Aurora Energy for more details.

Customers interested in tariff 93 will require a smart meter. It’s also important to point out that tariffs 61 and 62 are controlled load tariffs and don’t operate as a primary electricity tariff.

1st Energy Electricity Rates

The first residential electricity challenger to Aurora Energy, 1st Energy offers very similar prices across its tariff structures. However, keep in mind that even subtle differences can have a big impact over time.

Tariff Type Supply Charge Usage Charge
Tariff 31 Light and power 94.63 ¢/day 26.42 ¢/kWh
Tariff 41 Heating and hot water 17.64 ¢/day 17.16 ¢/kWh
Tariff 61 Controlled load w/ afternoon boost 21.80 ¢/day 13.82 ¢/kWh
Tariff 62 Controlled load (night only) 20.85 ¢/day 13.01 ¢/kWh
Tariff 93 Time of use 105.13 ¢/day Peak: 31.94 ¢/kWh

Off-peak: 14.87 ¢/kWh

Prices as of February 22 2019. Visit 1st Energy for more details.

Electricity discounts in Tasmania

The rates you pay for electricity in Tasmania are naturally hugely important. But the retailers also have other ways to help reduce your overall costs – namely through conditional discounts. The two electricity retailers in Tasmania currently offer the following electricity discounts:

  • Aurora Energy: Customers who pay by direct debit may be eligible to receive a direct debit discount of 5.5 cents per day (inc. GST). That works out to about $20 a year.
  • 1st Energy: Customers who pay their bills on time receive a pay on time discount of 5% off electricity usage charges. This discount lasts for 12 months.

Is 1st Energy cheaper than Aurora Energy?

There is very little in it, but it appears 1st Energy customers are likely to pay a little less than Aurora Energy customers. 1st Energy has entered the Tasmanian electricity market with very similar electricity usage and supply rates as Aurora Energy, but with a 5% pay on time discount to help reduce overall costs.

What if you have solar panels?

When you factor in the savings that come with solar power generation, it’s often harder to determine which provider comes out as the cheapest bet. Aurora Energy and 1st Energy both have reasonable feed-in tariffs to consider:

  • Aurora Energy has a solar feed-in tariff of 8.541 cents per kWh
  • 1st Energy has a solar feed-in tariff of 8.541 to 13.541 cents per kWh. A rebate of 18.541c/kWh may be available. Contact 1st Energy for details.

Can I choose my natural gas retailer?

There are two natural gas retailers in Tasmania – Tas Gas and Aurora Energy. Both retailers supply gas to the full range of customers, including residential, business and industrial. Tas Gas entered the Tasmania market following the introduction of Full Retail Competition back in 2003 and has come to dominate the state with 8,000 customers, accounting for roughly 65% of the market share. Both gas companies have nearly identical prices and services, so your choice of gas supplier will ultimately come down to the quality of service and personal preference. Although the market is open for new competitors to enter, it seems unlikely Tasmania will see a new gas retailer until the market grows.

Tasmania Natural Gas Prices

The price of natural gas is not regulated in Tasmania, yet there is a negligible difference in price between Tas Gas and Aurora Energy. There are also no published discounts and very little consumer switching. As you can see, Tas Gas usage rates are marginally cheaper, with the retailer having identical supply charges.

Aurora Gas Rates

Customer Type Daily Supply Charge Usage Charge
Residential 53.9 ¢/day 3.939 c/MJ

Tas Gas Rates

Customer Type Daily Supply Charge Usage Charge
Residential 53.9 ¢/day 3.892 ¢/MJ

Prices as of February 22 2019. Visit Aurora Energy or Tas Gas for more details.

Aurora Energy Tasmania

Aurora Energy is a state government-owned corporation and until recently was Tasmania’s only electricity retailer. Aurora’s prices remain fairly reasonable despite the relative lack of discounting and competition. It also has several features and options, including:

  • Aurora Green: GreenPower products whereby Aurora Energy agrees to source a portion of your electricity from green sources.
  • Aurora Online: Aurora’s online management portal
  • Aurora PAY AS YOU GO: Pay for electricity credit in advance.

TasNetworks

TasNetworks is again a state government-owned corporation and Tasmania’s only electricity distributor. As a distributor, TasNetworks is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires across the state. TasNetworks is also in charge of checking and maintaining electricity meters.

If you’re having trouble with your electricity meter, you experience a power outage, you want to report a faulty streetlight, or you need clearance to work near power cables, TasNetworks is who you contact – not Aurora.

TasNetworks Solar

Installing solar in Tasmania requires approval from TasNetworks. There are six steps to installing solar in Tasmania:

  1. Find an accredited solar installer
  2. The Installer submits a connection application with TasNetworks
  3. TasNetworks assesses whether solar system meets technical requirements and whether the network can accommodate your solar system.
  4. Once approved, the solar installer will begin installation.
  5. Before switching the solar system on, TasNetworks will install a digital import-export meter which makes it possible to receive a feed-in tariff.
  6. The solar system is switched on and you’re ready to start saving with the power of the sun.

If you want to learn more about solar and how to find a reliable installer, check out our solar buying guide.

TasNetworks Contact information

TasNetworks is available to contact 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. The emergency line operates 24 hours, 7 days a week.

  • Emergencies and faults: 132 004
  • General enquiries: 1300 127 777
  • Customer feedback: 1800 060 399

What’s next for Tasmania’s energy industry?

Tasmania has most of the ingredients for a competitive electricity and gas market, but it’s missing a vital piece – customers. With a population of only half a million, Tasmania is currently too small of a market for most major retailers to invest in. Additionally, while electricity prices are regulated, it’s doubtful that many mainland retailers will see much opportunity in Tasmania’s market.

While Tasmanians are severely restricted in retailer choice, there’s plenty other ways to save on energy. Canstar Blue has some useful guides to get you started.

Canstar Blue Energy Guides

Electricity & Gas Suppliers in Australia

While households in Tasmania only have a handful of energy suppliers to choose from, customers in other parts of the country have far more electricity and gas options, including the following:

Electricity Suppliers

  • ActewAGL
  • AGL
  • Alinta Energy
  • Amaysim Energy
  • Click Energy
  • Commander
  • CovaU Energy
  • DC Power Co
  • Diamond Energy
  • Dodo Power & Gas
  • Elysian Energy
  • EnergyAustralia
  • Energy Locals
  • Enova Energy
  • GloBird Energy
  • Locality Planning Energy (LPE)
  • Lumo Energy
  • Mojo Power
  • Momentum Energy
  • Origin Energy
  • People Energy
  • Pooled Energy
  • Powerdirect
  • Powershop
  • QEnergy
  • ReAmped Energy
  • Red Energy
  • Sanctuary Energy
  • Simply Energy
  • Sumo Power
  • Tango Energy

Gas Suppliers

  • AGL
  • Alinta Energy
  • Amaysim Energy
  • Click Energy
  • CovaU Energy
  • Dodo Power & Gas
  • EnergyAustralia
  • GloBird Energy
  • Kleenheat
  • Lumo Energy
  • Momentum Energy
  • Origin Energy
  • Powershop
  • Red Energy
  • Simply Energy
  • Sumo Power

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